[PARTNER CONTENT] Press Play Films SA has gone from selling school concert DVDs to directing BMW commercials, one job at a time.
The husband-and-wife team of Nick and Tina Dearlove (known as Team Tick) is making inroads in the television commercial and content-creation spaces. Press Play Films SA was founded in 2009 by the couple, who both had years of experience in agencies and production companies.
Nick had studied 2D and 3D animation and editing and had experience shooting music videos. Tina had studied film and production, with a specific focus on editing. Both had years of experience in agencies and production companies before starting Press Play.
“We started the company with no clients or equipment,” say the Dearloves. “We bought our first computer after a busy period of selling school concert DVDs. We knew we had to start at the bottom and just work our way up one job at a time.”
Fast forward 11 years later and they have made some ofSouth Africa’s best content and commercials, including the popular Leon Schuster and Shorty RWC TVC that was a hit during the 2019 Rugby World Cup. This August, Tina rose to the challenge of directing her first spots – and for a premium brand too: BMW.
A brief came in from Wunderman Thompson with a challenging timeline and budget due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Tina proposed a Women’s Month pitch in which she would step up as director and dedicate the company’s fee for producing, directing and post- production to the shoot days. The deal was she would include as many women in the production process as possible, and challenged the agency and client to do the same.
“I was so nervous when I pitched the project but I had technically co- directed every job we had done,” Tina says. “It was time to grab the bull by the horns and say I was directing this one myself.”
The shoot day included women in the roles of director, assistant AD, producer, project manager, Covid-19 safety officer and DIT/VT, with a female-owned catering company, Imbiza Catering, providing the food. Strong female roles from the agency and two women on the client team were present too.
“I then reached out to Cindy Lee, director of The Star Films Company, as I had heard she ran a Shadow Us programme, and asked her to send me some referrals,” says Tina. “I wanted to take two young, black, female film students with me to experience what a day on set is really like.”
Nongcebo Mngadi and Muthethwa Musia were selected as the two students who would shadow Tina.
“I just love how many questions they had,” says Tina. “They weren’t scared to get involved and help us keep the vehicles looking great, as we had no budget for art department. It was such a team effort; I remember all of us women polishing this car and laughing, just connecting and feeling alive once more.”
The BMW job had another challenge too: a bolshy taxi driver. As they were about to set for their final hero car shot of the day in Braamfischerville, a taxi pulled over right into shot. With time ticking, Tina ran down the street and asked the driver to move his vehicle. He said, “Lady if you want it moved, move it yourself,” and threw the car keys into the road.
“I was not going to let this taxi be in the shot, so I ran and got the keys, hopped in the taxi and moved it myself,” says Tina. “With seconds to spare we managed to get the shot with the sun setting. It’s moments like this that make me realise why we love what we do.”
[Check out the video of the incident here]
Tina and Nick’s work may not be conventional, but they believe it’s all about collaboration and strong relationships with their agencies, clients and other production companies.
“We aren’t interested in egos,” they say. “If we have to sit at the back, quietly edit, make client a cup of tea, or help the team move gear, then we do it…together.”
All you have to do is Press Play!
[Partner content is sponsored]
Press Play Films SA is a dynamic Johannesburg based production company producing engaging and creative content for commercial, corporate and online platforms. Building lasting relationships with our clients and constantly bettering ourselves and our work are some of our main focuses. We love what we do. We love working with like-minded, passionate people and seeing them and ourselves thrive in every achievement. Nothing is more thrilling than seeing that finessed final product on screen, having brought a vision to life. From taking the initial brief to the render on the final video, Press Play handles every aspect of the production and post production process, ensuring clients have peace of mind knowing the team will handle every detail with the utmost precision and care.
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